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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 25 October 2020

A tale of two penalties - history made with first World Cup spot-kick awarded by VAR

But then Australia hit back against France with a penalty of their own at the other end.

WORLD CUP HISTORY has been made in Kazan after France were awarded the first-ever penalty via the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system — only for Australia to respond almost instantly through a spot-kick of their own.

France v Australia: Group C - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia The VAR system in use in Kazan. Source: Catherine Ivill

After a goalless first half, Antoine Griezmann went down under the challenge of Josh Ridson — who appeared to clip the ball — just inside the Australia box having run through on goal, with referee Andres Cunha initially waving play on.

However, the official received word in his ear that he should refer the incident to VAR and having watched four different replays on the pitch-side monitor, adjudged Ridson to have clipped Griezmann’s heals in his attempts to deny the Atletico striker.

Griezmann dusted himself down and tucked the spot-kick away to give France an early second-half lead, only for Australia to go down the other end and level proceedings within minutes.

Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy floated in a free-kick and under no pressure, Samuel Umtiti inexplicably put his hand in the air and gave the official no choice but to point to the spot, with Mile Jedinak sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way.

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The four minutes and seven seconds between the two penalties was the shortest period of time between two spot-kicks being scored by different sides in a World Cup match.

VAR has been used to varying degrees of success in Serie A and the German Bundesliga, while Fifa used the system at the Confederations Cup in Russia last year.

But the Premier League voted in April not to use the system during the 2018/19 Premier League season after controversial trials in English cup competitions.

VAR technology is used in what are considered “game-changing” situations, such as a goal, penalty or red card, and can also be used to help referees with cases of mistaken identity.

Fifa director of referees Massimo Busacca admits the system has been rushed in for the World Cup, but insists officials are ready and that VAR will help referees make better decisions in Russia.

Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the referees committee at Fifa, said it was time for the VAR to prove its worth in the modern game because referees were “humans” and should have a safety net to prevent them making mistakes.

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